Monday, November 05, 2007

I'll get over it soon...











Courtesy of a thoughtful uncle back home.

And in other news, Mickey is back in our flat. Actually, we think it's probably his cousin, since we left Mickey in the trash dumpster and found his brother in the trap one morning, so leaves a few other family member to get rid of.

My flatmate and I jammed a few goldilocks pads (for non-Kiwis: 'steelo pads' or 'metal scrubbing pads' or 'bunch of metal stuff') in the gaps in the corners of our bedroom walls (down by where the heating pipes run along a perimeter wall) and Jerry (they alternate between Jerry and Mickey) suddenly discovered them at about 12am last night. He had a good scratch until about 2am, when I finally got to sleep.

He kept my flatmate awake too, who today suggested we spray a can of flyspray through the last few gaps and gas him. I'm not too enthused about the idea of a decomposing mouse in our wall, but maybe I should have thought of that before I stuffed the goldilocks in there...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The buildup - pool matches

So that now I've gotten over the crap result last weekend...

France

Was excellent. 10/10. The food was delicious, the weather hot, and the scenery maaaaaarvellous.

First stop was Marseille for the game against Italy. We found the beach front where there was a women's rugby tournament happening, complete with a constructed mini-stadium and sand pitch, for calf workouts and light tumbles. We spotted a couple of the ABs who were having a bit of a bike ride and they hung around for a few photos which was pretty cool (I didn't get any, but snapped the camera a few times for some others..).

We also found (or probably more accurately, he found us) an insane Frenchman who was in town to promote OzTag and kept trying to impress us with his impressions of 'Spencer! Spencer!', who we assumed by his constant dummies and no-look passing ('woooah didn't see that one coming, mate... ha ha...good one..') meant King Carlos but it turns out he meant some other French guy who was apparently as dinky and tricky as 'Los' himself... We managed to give him the slip after a while.

The weather was excellent on match day but was a little bit spoiled by the Italians' refusal to acknowledge the haka (cue much booing and hissing). Sun tan all round and drunkenness galore.

That night, we all headed out to some godforsaken place in the docks to see Wellington outfit the Black Seeds play, and were pleasantly surprised to hear that some ABs were going to make a guest appearance!!! I got a photo with Byron K and with Anton O (some will understand the significance of that one) and it was a pretty good night... I went home early having lost all my mates - they managed to get into the VIP area where the ABs were coocooned after the gig, getting off their face and one of the guys leaned over the bar and got a bottle of Pacifico (whatever that is) and ran around the place pouring shots into people's mouths (Jerry's too, apparently). Needless to say, after instigating a food fight at 3am back at our hotel after arriving back, he was sick out the window onto the pavement out the front. Not nice to listen to - or to inspect the following morning!

Next up was Nice, was Nice, I like.. (had to get that one out, been waiting to do that for a while). Again, pretty good weather, but I was rather underwhelmed by the city. The beaches were absolute shite, rocky, stony, and all divvied up between the various businesses and restaurants that had set up on the beachfront. Went for a swim in the warm Med, but I wasn't sad to leave to Nice...

Italy

It was fairly exciting to be in Milan for a few days, our sole Italian stopover before heading to Switzerland. At least, it was exciting to be going to Milan.

Milan had a fair bit of interesting architecture and buildings around the place, and the food was a continuation of the gastronomic delights of France, but I'm afraid the squat toilets in the main station left me scarred forever.

In all fairness, it was the equivalent of saying 'I'm hungry' and then having something absolutely vile turn up on your plate - I was saying 'I need to go to the loo' and then all of a sudden I didn't...

Milan was dripping in money. Me and my mate found a club that was open on a Monday night, got in for 20 Euros, and spent the whole night marvelling at the exclusivity, the snobbery, and the very good looking women in attendance. 15 Euros for a bottle of Heineken - I think I went through 100 Euros for the whole night. Breathtakingly expensive, but worth it. A few lessons in the importance of appearing earnest or at least filthy rich.

A day trip to Lake Como was well worth it - highly recommended for some quality views all back over Italy to the south and Switzerland to the north. Very nice way to spend a day.

Switzerland

It was a relief to be back in German-speaking territory again - the previous 6 or 7 days I had been struggling to get my French numbers and Italian phrases out in complete sentences, and it almost felt like being home, being able to speak German again. We were in Luzern, in the German quarter, and back in Switzerland! I was particularly pleased to be back.

We went up Mount Pilatus, taking the round trip which is a boat trip from Luzern, up the cog railway, then back down to Luzern via a half hour trip in the gondola. Again, an excellent way to spend a day.

I really enjoyed the rest of our stay in Luzern - eating chocolate, drinking beer, eating lots. Purchasing the obligatory Swiss Army knife - sent it back home for my dad's brithday...

Then it was back to France, and to Lyon for the game against Portugal.

This game was much more enjoyable - the atmosphere was pumping thanks to the Portugal supporters, who absolutely screamed their heads off whenever they scored points. We found a place called 'Le Maori Cafe' which, wait for it, is a Maori cafe!! Pretty good atmosphere and found a few cuzzies too!

The night after the game all the other guys in our tour went out for some dinner, I stayed at the hotel owing to my stuffing my face with a burger and chips after the game, not being hungry. A couple of hours later the guys came back, having bumped into some of the ABs again at Maccas... No photos this time.

Then it was on to Paris where we spent a night before flying back to London - one last opportunity to quaff some fine wine and have quality cuisine.

I'm now holding out for the next culinary delights I'm expecting - in NZ next year when I visit.

Oh and: I think I've worked out what this comment thingy is. I've deleted the abuse from Anonymous and rejected all the spam, published a comment from about 6 months ago so feel free to email me if the comment thing stuffs up again. Cheers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm back...

So I've been a little lax lately... Discovering the vile pile of poo that is Facebook.. getting drunk...feeling guilty..going to the gym...feeling better....having a beer to reward myself...feeling worse...

So the flatmate who moved (see the lasagne episode) has been replaced by a drummer from up norf' (not saying where because everyone in that town who will know who she is), and a fair bit has happened since then:

- an insipid English summer
- messy nights at various Walkabouts
- messy nights in Brick Lane
- messy nights at the flat
- messiness
- a trip up norf
- 'Fun with Absinthe'
- barbecues
- getting drunk watching the All Blacks crap over all comers in the Tri Nations
- a kick arse English summer weekend
- a marriage (CG and NG) and an engagement back home (SC and KW)
- lots of other stuff

I am heading over to 'the mainland' (not 'Europe' as it offends the Europhiles) for 10 days first off on a bit of a train tour during which we will see the All Blacks v Italy, v Portugal games, back in London for a few days, then up to Edinburgh with the Beige Brigade to carry on the antics I learned so well in Geneva last year (no handbags this time) while watching the Scots battle it oot with the ABs. Back to London for a few days, then off for a road trip over to Cardiff with my arrived-in-May mate (who is still sleeping on my floor and is enjoying being a bum) for the quarter final, then the next weekend over to Paris for the semi.

I haven't got tickets for the final, whether that is fate saving me from a weekend of despair in Paris or an opportunity to get absolutely wankered celebrating victory in London, I'm not sure yet. Either way I will be as obnoxious as I can on the Monday back at work. It's the only way to make up for putting up with over a decade of 'choker' crap.

In other news, my application for a skilled migrant's visa has been approved (they think I'm skilled, neat...) and that means I can stay in the country for longer!! Looking to make a trip back to OW!tearoa early on next year though, missing home pretty bad...

So that's me. More later when I realise from the deluge of comments that people are still interested.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What becomes of the Basin Hearted?

Spotted this on the Beige Brigade website: these boys love their cricket.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Happiness Defined: Lasagne

Tonight is the final night for one of my flatmates, who is moving home to Wales tomorrow. In honour of the event, I cooked him a vegie lasagne (him being a vegie fella) and it turned out not too badly!

'Leeks' became celery, and 'cream' became blue top milk. My other flatmate was out for the night, but our neighbour came round and shared in the feed, giving it a 10 out of 10 when he had finished, stuffed (he then had to go back next door and chow down some tuna pasta his girlfriend had made - bugger).

Not before I cracked out some NZ chocolate that my sister had brought back from NZ on her recent trip home, and some Grant's whisky that had been sitting in the freezer during Lent. So now, my flatmate is finishing packing, I'm sitting in my room with my new amp and speakers playing some Doobie Brothers.

So, glass of whisky in hand, music to ear, lasagne in stomach.. happiness defined???

Not bad for my all-time first attempt at lasagne (consequently, we have two lots of mince in the freezer - I forgot to leave the meat out this morning before going to work, and bought some fresh stuff tonight, not having worked out how I would divvy up between 'vegie lasagne' 'meat lasagne'...

I have NZ easter eggs in the freezer. Luverly. Last day of work tomorrow for the long weekend. Supoib.

I need to call my parents.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bogans unite

Saw this on Stuff:

"Waikato University student Dave Snell was awarded $96,000 through a Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship to study bogans.

In his PhD, entitled The Everyday Life of Bogans: Identity and Community Among Heavy Metal Fans, he aims to find out what makes bogans tick."


It seems that a National MP is not impressed, asking what benefit this will have to the NZ economy. The bogan replies: "Not everything is about economics."

I'd love to do a PhD on bogans! I remember parties in Henderson, with a bonfire and petrol trails blazing down the driveway. Loud music, massive speakers, and bourbon flowing like, well, bourbon.

I also recall a story: at a friend's place in Henderson, the cops turned up one time in response to a neighbour's complaint. After walking through the house, as they went to the leave, one of them leaned close to one of the people at the party, and muttered, "We're coming back in a few hours. Make sure the dope's gone by then."

Aah, the life of the bogan. Classic.

PS An update will be forthcoming soon. I'm in my new flat, loving it, just endured an alcohol ban for Lent, looking forward to my mate coming over in May, and best of all, the clocks went forward an hour last week (to British Standard Time - GMT doesn't change) so more light in the evening, and it's getting (gradually) warmer!!!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Waitangi Day Pub crawl

The infamous Circle Line pub crawl on the closest Saturday to February 6th each year has a reputation as being a boozy excuse to get boozed (and its often the bozos who do get boozed), a person I know who works for a government department has described it as 'our national shame', with skinny, pasty white, drunk guys stripping off their shirts to yell and dance at a brick facade at Westminster. Personally, I think she is like that because there are very few brown lads with rippling biceps and pecs doing it. Methinks the skinny white drunk guy doesn't do it for her.

So of course, I had to go along and see what the fuss was about!

The day started nice enough, mint weather, a big cooked feed at a mates, eggs, sausage and bacon laid on, and of course beers in hand almost from the front door of the flat. 10am saw the official start of festivities at Paddington station, with everyone not quite yet so drunk that they can make out what everyone else has come as. There was of course no mistaking who this guy had come as:















I also spotted the Wizard of Christchurch, a few nuns and some fellows in gumboots (and a crap load of bogans - but I'm not sure they were dressed up). Also spotted was Clint Heine taking every opportunity to show off his sex sheep :p (it bore a striking resemblance to the sex sheep that made its way to Paris in November last year with our rugby trip, except that it bore no evidence of graffiti with pens, abuse with beer bottles, or punctures...)
















Funnels atop phone boxes. One guy got up, everyone started chanting JUMP! JUMP! JUMP! and as soon as the funnel appeared, it became SCULL! SCULL! SCULL!

Throughout the day the challenge more or less matured: not to down your drink and get back on the tube, but to not lose your mates, find a multi national restaurant and make use of the facilities (and grab a cheeseburger on the way out), not get arrested and not run out of beer.
So considering the cops were shutting the tube stations left right and behind you, and there were big queues at the off-licenses (dairies with alcohol for those back home), and improvised games of street cricket popped up everywhere (street and footpath), and it seemed like no sooner had you been to the toilet than you needed to go again, it was a very challenging day!

Haka

The main pulling point I think of the whole day is the opportunity to scream and dance at the end of it with our national tango - whether you wanted to righteously hurl abuse for the unsavoury elements of our colonial heritage, or just say the F word really REALLY loud and out of time, with a convenient excuse - there was no doubt that Westminster at 4pm is where it was at.

Until of course, when at 4:15pm, a mate came over to where we had been patiently waiting for the call to strip and said the haka was over. I don't think I'd felt a bigger anticlimax before, at least not since last week when I unsuccessfully fell over.

It seems that a handful of greedy lickers at the front didn't spread the call far enough, OR the organisers got drunk and forgot to bring megaphones. Either way, I felt a little cheated, having lost my mates at Victoria station and ran about a km or two to find them again getting lost again on the way and falling over on concrete and skinning my palms and whacking my knees. I felt like I had earned the haka, especially since I made it there before 4pm.















A spot of lampost climbing. As you do...
















Big Ben and big heap Kiwis. All these photos are from my phone so the quality is a bit shite.

The only thing to be done of course, was to head over to the Shepherd's Bush Walkabout and drown my sorrows in a snakebite or five.

Feral

I must have needed reminding, because I was surprised to come across some feral bastards at the walkie. One guy in green who kept stepping on my shoe and two guys who elbowed another guy who was trying to get past them with his drinks. I felt a little obliged to help the guy on a crutch who almost slipped over trying to leave because the floor was greasy (not because he was drunk, believe me ;) so I feel like I made up for some of my less desirable compatriots.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Update the Twoth

It snowed today! I got out of bed thinking it was colder than usual, got dressed, ready for work, found my mobile and saw a text from my sister saying, 'It's snowed outside!'

And I kid you not, I ran to the window, threw open the shutter and tore off the sash (or at least I imagined the narrator doing so in the Night Before Christmas, my window not having a shutter or a sash). Lo and behold, a frosty white coating of icing powder all around - I felt like it was Christmas - or at least, winter...

I went and got my disposable camera and finally finished the damn roll with photos from my room (to be posted up later) and spent the next two or three hours in probably the best mood I have ever been in during a morning. I left the house with a silly grin on my grin on my face, picked my way along the slushy disgusting pavement like a pregnant woman, got passed by two locals who, having noticed my uncoordinated gait, turned as they passed me and realised "we've got a fresh one here", and got on to the Tube not caring if it took me til lunchtime to get to work.

I was actually pretty disappointed I was only 15 minutes late. Even more so because of the fact that I have been 15 minutes late for about 5 out of the last 7 days. A crisis like snow makes the morning commute so much more interesting. There was however a psycho woman who screamed at people to move down the carriage and let her on (as she landed into the carriage from a height), which made the whole carriage go quiet, even for London standards. There was this poor schoolboy who couldn't have been more than 10 or 11, who kept on looking up at her like she was an angry relative, half curious yet respectful, the other half dying to grin. He cast all around the carriage for others to grin with, found a classmate, looked at me, in fact he did the rounds about three times. It was all the more amusing since he was nearest her (nearest of about 5 that were surrounding her) and being the shortest of the 5 seemed the most vulnerable. He kept on looking at her as if to gauge whether she was going to explode again.

I hope it snows again tomorrow - although my enthusiasm for making snowballs or at least a snowman died about 10 seconds after looking outside - I really need a Kiwi sidekick to get the energy up for that kind of malarkey so early in the morning and I didn't feel like getting down and dirty with the frosty stuff just then.

Progress is slow for the big flat move - I am moving flats - but once it is all over I will sigh with relief and post all the gory details if I can be bothered. Basically, the leaseholding flatmates started throwing their weight around like children over a stupid (and selfish, at that) dispute, ordering the flatmate with which the dispute was, to move out of the flat. I could see it happening to me, the honeymoon period with the flat was over, so I said tarah. I tend to avoid conflict if I can, but I knew that one day I would let rip and face the prospect of having my room rifled when I was at work - so I'm keeping it cool, calm and collected and hopefully I'll get the hell out of here with everything in one piece (and my bond, $%£!!). More later, but my new place is above a restaurant, beside a DJ and his club, and near a mosque.

Sounds like another adventure!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Meme

I've been tagged. Argh!

So I need to post up five things that you wouldn't otherwise know about me. Hmm...

- I wear a ring on my middle finger on my left hand (I actually got asked in Germany if I was married, believe it or not! By a guy though. On behalf of a girl apparently. Apparently not. Not that he was interested. I think.)

- To escape doing the dishes after dinner I would sneak off to the toilet and sit there for hours. My family wised up after a while (6 years) and started having a delayed dessert, so I would come back to the table, see the dishes still there and my family would start laughing at me. I can't really do that anymore, seeing as no one else in the flat is going to do my dishes for me.

- I have been to Brixton four times now and have been shot zero times. It's an encouraging ratio. London-based bloggers will know that Brixton is much more dangerous than its Wikipedia entry lets on.

- I have a lava lamp in my room and it is purple. I'm truly disturbed by the way the initial movements of warm lava (?) through the still-cold water form mini-stalagmites that resemble foetuses. I must take a photo and post it up sometime.

- I got busted in third form for fiddling with a Coke machine at school. Career thief that I have become, I learned from these elementary blunders:

a) Instead of acting like I was actually getting a drink (I had plastic token I was trying to pull up and down the coin entry), I panicked when I saw a teacher coming and started jerking the token to try and get it out, succeeding only once the teacher was next to me and taking an interest in my criminally thirsty mind.

b) Instead of telling him the name of someone else in my class, I recited my name and form class virtually immediately - name, rank and serial number I kid you not.

c) Instead of keeping mum about the affair, I told my friends, who (in a restrained manner, now that I think about it) told me I was an idiot for panicking. The token got confiscated I think. Either that or I gave it a ritual burning. I did actually learn something that day at school - to this day I have never told my father (he gave me the token from the packaging for a new hammer he had bought) or my mother (she would have given me the quiet 'disappointed' treatment - you know, the one that absolutely rips you up inside).

- Six, just cause I'm feeling nice: I discovered a mildly raunchy novel in my house (my parent's house), read it cover to cover about 10 times, then had a massive conscience guilt trip. I took the book out the back to our decommissioned incinerator (I think burning rubbish had been banned about 10 years prior) and gave that a ritual burning, complete with page ripping. I felt just like the Germans must have in the Book Burning Square (which I have now been to!). I don't know whose book it was so I never told anyone about that. It was probably the most explicit piece of literature I had read at that point in my life. I can't remember how old I was, but the title? A Dangerous Fortune by Ken Follett.

I'm sure that book corrupted me. Either that or it was the time I burst in on my parents having sex. Dear Lord.

I am tagging ex-pats over here: Clint Heine, Michelle, Pru, Frit, MavXP. Sorry guys if you've already done them, I've just been rubbish lately and have not been doing my Required Reading.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Update

As you will have noticed, things have been quite quiet in my neck of the woods lately - mostly because I have developed an aversion to internet 'cafes' (read: dives) over here, I'm too busy at work to bum around and I don't have ready access to the internet at home.

That should be changing soon though - I've put my order in for a brand new shining MacBook laptop and one of the flatties is keen to get a phone account setup, which also means broadband! So that is my excitement at the moment. I bought a guitar about 3 weeks ago and am feeling much happier with a channel for musical output again! I've spotted a mint digital keyboard which I am also saving up for as well.

November has been pretty frantic for me - last weekend I was in Paris for the ABs game against the Tricolours, the weekend before in Berlin for a weekend away, and THIS weekend I am in Edinburgh! We had a work conference up here on Thursday and I've stayed on for the weekend, staying with a Kiwi friend of mine. Edinburgh is, putting it lightly, AWESOME. Hopefully I will be back up here for Hogmanay, the New Year festival.

Anyway - the ABs start in 20 minutes so I'm off to the couch via the fridge.

AUE HI!!

PS: Keep an eye out for the next instalment of Fun With Food. Reader submissions have been greatly appreciated and we'll be doing our best to incorporate them into upcoming episodes.